October 2014

Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 20, no. 10

PMC News

The University of Southern California in Los Angeles will host two concerts in early October, celebrating the centenary of Sir Andrzej Panufnik. On October 5 in the Alfred Newman Recital Hall, the Polish Music Center will present its annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital, featuring the composer’s widow, Lady Camilla Panufnik, delivering the lecture, “Andrzej Panufnik—the Man behind the Music.”

Following her presentation, a concert of several of Panufnik’s chamber works will be presented, including the Piano Trio, Five Vocalises – Hommage à Chopin, and String Quartet No. 2, performed by some of Los Angeles’ favorite musicians: Juliana Gondek, mezzo-soprano; James Lent, piano; Nic Gerpe, piano; and the Eclipse String Quartet: Sara Parkins, violin; Joel Pargman, violin (guest); Alma Lisa Fernandez, viola; Maggie Parkins, cello.

The evening will end with a delicious reception with the artists and with guest of honor, Lady Camilla Panufnik. Please join us!

* * * * * *

The Panufnik Centenary celebrations continue on October 9, when Maestro Carl St. Clair will lead the USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra in performance of two of Panufnik’s orchestral works—Tragic Overture (1955) and Harmony (1989)—at USC’s premiere performing venue, Bovard Auditorium.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2013 | 7:00 P.M.
2014 Paderewski Lecture-Recital – Celebrating Sir Andrzej Panufnik
USC Alfred Newman Recital Hall (AHF)
3616 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA
Info: 213. 821.1356 | polmusic@thornton.usc.edu

USC Thornton Symphony Performs Panufnik
USC Bovard Auditorium (ADM)
3551 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA
Info: muspub@usc.edu

Admission for both events: FREE
Parking: $10
Enter USC Gate #3 at McCarthy Way & Figueroa St (Parking Structure X)

2014 Paderewski Festival In Paso Robles: Music, Dance and Wine!

The annual Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles will be held November 5-9, 2014, and once again it promises to be a veritable feast of concerts, wine-tasting, fine food, and truly spectacular Fall Feast in this charming Central Coast town.

In addition to the regular musical programs presented in several different venues, a few extra attractions have been scheduled this year for the Festival-going public and aficionados of Polish culture.

The biggest and most important moment of this year’s Festival will be the November 8 Gala Concert, held at the elegant and historic Ballroom of the downtown Paso Robles Inn. Zheeyoung Moon (pictured below), a pianist born in South Korea but now residing in Berlin, is a brilliant and very promising young artist who has performed across the globe and won several very prestigious piano competitions, including the First Prize at the 2013 International Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Ms. Moon will present a program of works by Chopin, Paderewski, Schumann and Liszt. The highlights of her program include Chopin’s Op. 35 Sonata and the “Heroic” Polonaise Op. 53, a group of charming Paderewski miniatures (including his celebrated Menuet and tender Nocturne), and Liszt’s brilliant Rhapsodie espagnole. On Friday, November 7, one day before her recital, Ms. Moon will conduct a piano master class that is open to all—piano students and the general public—free of charge.

The Festival will be officially launched on Thursday, November 6. Since this is Paderewski’s birthday, special celebrations—musical and culinary—are on offer. Cassandra Tarantino and the Cuesta College North County Chorus will present an evening of choral music at Cass Winery in Paso Robles. The program will feature some Polish songs (including, in anticipation of the season, one of the most famous Christmas carols), as well as works by Bach, Mozart, and Dvořak. The Chorus will close their concert with a performance of Paderewski’s one and only composition for choir, Hej, Orle biały [Hey, White Eagle!], which was written for the Polish troops fighting with the Haller’s Army during World War I. A gourmet meal accompanied by wines from Cass Winery can be purchased together with the tickets to this event. It promises to be a most festive and delicious celebration of Paderewski’s birthday!

Two exceptional musicians will travel from Poland to perform for this year’s Festival on Friday, November 7. Violinist Mariusz Patyra—winner of the Paganini Violin Competition in Genoa, Italy—will be joined by pianist, composer and arranger Krzysztof Herdzin, whose catalogue of recordings exceeds 200 albums among which are 16 Gold and three Platinum records. The Patyra-Herdzin Duet will present an evening of Romantic music, including works by Wieniawski, Chopin, Paganini, Dvořak, and others. Krzysztof Herdzin will also present a live improvisation on Chopin and Mariusz Patyra will demonstrate his sterling virtuosity in one of Paganini’s most iconic works, his Caprice no. 24 for solo violin. Billed as the “Romantic Virtuosos,” the concert will be held in the historic Park Ballroom in the heart of downtown Paso Robles.

Promoting music appreciation among the youngest members of the community and fostering growth of the local talent are also important aspects of the Paderewski Festival. It was a stated wish of Paderewski to endow and run a music school in Paso that would provide free tuition to all its students. Although his plans did not materialize during Paderewski’s lifetime, since 2007 the Festival has run a Youth Piano Competition for pianists residing in the three Central Coast counties. The winners of this year’s auditions (held in late October) will be presented during a Festival concert on Saturday afternoon, November 8. The Paso Robles Inn Ballroom will be venue for this showcase of budding virtuosos and, in order to encourage the widest possible audience to attend, admission to this event is free.

2013 Paderewski Youth Exchange in Poland
Participants in the 2013 Paderewski Youth Exchange in Poland

On a youth-related topic, since 2009 the Paderewski Festival and the Province of Tarnów in Poland have engaged in a program of International Cultural Exchange, held in Paso Robles and at Paderewski’s manor house in Kąśna Dolna, Poland, during alternating years. Winners of the Youth Piano Competition in Paso had travelled to Poland in 2009, 2011 and 2013. In turn, their Polish counterparts have visited Paso to perform at the Festival in 2010 and 2012. This year, two Polish students will also be joined by two students from the Podolia Region in what is now the Ukraine, where Paderewski was born in 1860. This way, the Festival celebrates and links the three regions of the world associated with Paderewski’s life—his birthplace in the former Polish territories, his roots in southern Poland (Kraków and Kąśna Dolna), and his American home in Paso Robles, where Paderewski once owned large vineyards and almond tree ranches. Polish and Ukrainian students will be heard at Cass Winery on Wednesday, November 5 and at the Ballroom of the Paso Robles Inn on Sunday, November 9. The former concert is an invitation-only presentation, but the November 9 performance is free and open to the public. The young virtuosos will perform a variety of compositions by Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Grieg, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and, of course, Paderewski! In addition, the two Ukrainian students will present music by two little-known Ukrainian composers, which certainly will add to our knowledge of musical culture in this part of the world.

Other Festival attractions (both free!) include a Saturday morning film screening and a noontime performance of Polish dances by the Krakusy Ensemble from Los Angeles. The 10 a.m. screening at Park Cinemas on November 8 will feature Impromptu, a delightful 1991 film about Chopin’s life in Paris. Starring Hugh Grant and Bernadette Peters, this gentle comedy provides plenty of beautiful music and a fascinating look at the artistic community in the heart of Romantic-era Paris. After the film screening, just a few steps across the street, the Krakusy Ensemble will perform several Polish dances at the Gazebo in City Park, starting at 12:30 p.m. With their colorful costumes and invigorating rhythms, the Polish dance concert promises to be an excellent addition to this year’s Paderewski Festival.

More information on the Paderewski Festival can be found on the www.paderewskifest.com website. Tickets can be purchased online or ordered by phone by calling the Festival at 805. 235.5409. Mail inquiries should be directed to: Paderewski Festival, P.O. Box 272, Paso Robles, CA 93447 and e-mail questions can be sent to: info@paderewskifest.com

See you in Paso in November!

Kolberg & Panufnik Years

2014 IAMIC Conference

This year’s International Association of Music Information Centres (IAMIC) Annual Meeting, General Assembly, Conference and Concert—collectively referred to as IAMIC 2014—will be held from October 3-8 in and around the south-western Polish city of Wrocław. During the same time period, Wrocław will be the site of the 2014 World Music Days, a festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM). Organized by the Polish Music Information Centre in Warsaw on behalf of IAMIC, the conference will have many confluences with ISCM’s World Music Days.

The theme of the 2014 IAMIC Conference is “Tradition and New Music,” and is linked to the 2014 Kolberg anniversary celebrations. This year in Poland is dedicated to Oskar Kolberg (1814-1890), the first Polish folklorist, still considered a very important figure in Polish folklore studies and in Polish culture in general. Poland did not exist on the map of Europe during Kolberg’s lifetime, as it had been occupied and divided among three powers: Russia, Prussia and Austria. Still, Kolberg managed to cover with his field work all the territory of the former multinational Republic of Poland (or the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) and he collected a great wealth of folk songs, tales, proverbs, riddles, as well as many other ethnographic documents. He published 33 volumes of his lifetime work titled Lud (Folk), and his unpublished legacy is still being uncovered. The Oskar Kolberg Institute has already published around 70 volumes containing material from present-day Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania, as well as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and even from Łużyce (Lausitz) – today a region stretching across the Polish-German border.

On October 7, the New Music Orchestra (OMN) led by conductor Szymon Bywalec will present a program of works from around the world that either use folk instruments or are inspired by traditional music. The program consists of: Savvas Savva (Cyprus) – Drepani for chamber orchestra; Jana Kmitowa (Slovakia) – Metamerie for fujara and chamber orchestra; Cândido Lima (Portugal) – Momentos-Memorias II for Portuguese and classical guitars and chamber orchestra; Gunnar Andreas Kristinsson (Iceland) – Arma Virumque Cano for chamber orchestra; and Zygmunt Krauze (Poland) –Aus aller Welt stammende for złóbcoki and string instruments. Other performers for the concert will be Michal Paľko – fujara, Miguel Raposo – Portuguese guitar, and Philippe Raposo – guitar.

October 7, 2014 | 3:00 p.m.
IAMIC Concert “Tradition and new music”
Książ Castle, Wałbrzych, Poland
Information: www.iamic2014.polmic.pl

[Sources: iamic2014.polmic.pl, polmic.pl]

Panufnik – BBC3 Composer Of The Week

Starting on September 22, for a week the music of Sir Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991) reigned supreme on British radio station BBC Radio 3. Panufnik, whose 100th birth anniversary is celebrated around the world in 2014, was chosen as Composer of the Week. In celebration, BBC announcer Donald Macleod did 5 consecutive programs about the life and music of this Warsaw-born composer.

Having been one of the most sought-after composers in his home country, and the conductor of the Krakow and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestras, in 1954 Panufnik escaped the creative persecution of Communist Poland and sought asylum in the UK. In his new home, one his first permanent occupations was as conductor at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In 1991, he was honored with the title of nobility form Elizabeth II for services to the UK.

Below is as listing of the BBC3 programs:

Survival (1/5) Donald Macleod focuses on the difficult war years and the beginning of Panufnik’s career

From No 1 to No-one (2/5) Donald Macleod introduces music from around the time of Panufnik’s defection to Britain

Marriage (3/5) Donald Macleod with music written in the years after Panufnik’s marriage to Camilla Jessel

Recognition (4/5) Donald Macleod focuses on works from the 1970s and 80s as Panufnik’s popularity grew.

Celebrations, Honours and a Glorious Homecoming (5/5) Donald Macleod introduces music from the last years of Panufnik’s life

[Sources: polmic.pl, bbc.co.uk]


Marcin Stańczyk Premiere

A world premiere of Aftersounds, a 2014 Marcin Stańczyk composition for two percussionists and electronics, was given on September 12 at Centre Pompidou in Paris. The work was composed during Stańczyk’s one-year long residency at IRCAM in Paris and it explores the relationships between optical phenomena and music.

The performers at the appropriately-named Espace de Projection included members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Samuel Favre, Hervé Trovel, and conductor Matthias Pintscher. The concert was recorded by Radio France and for a September 29 worldwide broadcast in the cycle “Les lundis de la contemporaine,” produced by France Musique.

[Sources: polmic.pl, ircam.fr]

Nospr Hall Premieres With A Spectacular Lineup

On October 1 the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) inaugurated its new season in a brand new building, designed by Konior Architects with the acoustic design of the concert hall provided by the Japan-based Nagata Acoustic Company. The leadership of the Orchestra and the administrators of the City of Katowice have organized a spectacular calendar of concerts, including performances by such artists as pianists Krystian Zimerman (Oct. 1) and Piotr Anderszewski (Oct. 18), jazz vocalist Urszula Dudziak (Oct. 22), and tenor Piotr Beczała (Oct. 28). The guest ensembles include performances by the Bavarian Radio Choir (Oct. 1), Vienna Philharmonic (Oct. 3), London Symphony Orchestra (Oct. 18), and Norddeutsche Rundfunk Big Band Hamburg (Oct. 22).

During the October 1 Opening Night Gala, Krystian Zimerman was featured in the world premiere of Eugeniusz Knapik’s Concerto of Song Offeringsfor piano solo, choir and orchestra, which the composer prepared especially for the grand opening. The work uses two verses by Rabindranath Tagore in the English original from the book of poems called Song Offerings. The program also included Brahms’s First Piano Concerto and works by three Polish composers linked to the National Radio Orchestra—Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Wojciech Kilar. The program ended with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

The other highlights of the celebrations will include the world premiere of Krzysztof Meyer’s 14th String Quartet (Oct. 2) in performance by Silesian Quartet, as well as chamber music by Anton Hoffmeister, Stefan Poradowski and Franz Schubert that will be heard in the new Chamber Hall Auditorium. Back in the Main Concert Hall, Vienna Philharmonic will present works by Penderecki, as well as two rarely-heard compositions by Czech composers, Antonin Dvořak’s Biblical Songs Op. 99 and Asrael Symphony by Josef Suk.

The AUKSO Orchestra, Camerata Silesia and Leszek Możdżer will be heard on October 5 and works by Ennio Morricone will be interpreted by the National Radio Symphony on October 11. London Symphony Orchestra will present Panufnik’s Tenth Symphony and Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss. The ensemble will also accompany Piotr Anderszewski in Schumann’s Piano Concerto at the October 18 concert. Further details on this month-long celebration can be found at: www.nospr.org.pl

[Sources: polmic.pl, nospr.org.pl]

ISCM World Music Days

From October 3-12, the ISCM Polish Section together with the Municipality of Wrocław, the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra and the Wrocław Opera presents the ISCM World Music Days in Wrocław. World Music Days is celebration of contemporary music and twenty-first century music hosted by a different city each year. Brought to life by the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM), it was first organized in Salzburg in 1923. Since that time has hosted in over fifty cities around the world. This year’s co-organizers are Polish Radio – Program II, the Karol Lipinski Academy of Music in Wrocław and the University of Wrocław, Department of Musicology. Due to the international nature of the event at the ISCM World Music Days 2014 will bring together artists, journalists, diplomats and politicians from more than seventy countries.

The 2014 World Music Days will host outstanding artists of avant-garde music, including: Klangforum Wien, Court-Circuit, Agata Zubel, Lutosławski Quartet, New Music Orchestra, Camerata Silesia, Marek Pasieczny and Andrew Bauer, performing works by major composers of contemporary music from around the world. Other guests include: ex-Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, who will be accompanied by a group Supersilent; Ryoji Ikeda – the most important contemporary composer of electronic music – with his excellent project Zeitkratzer and noise music legend Keiji Haino. 120 composers from around the world, including Krzysztof Penderecki and Peter Eotvos, will be present. Works of both famous composers will be presented during the Festival of Contemporary Opera.

A highlight of the series will be the world premiere of the Symphony No. 2 for 100 motorcycles, electric guitar, percussion and electronics by Sławomir Kupczak (pictured at left). It will be performed by members of the motorcycle club APANONAR, guitarist Andrzej Nowak, and percussionist Dominik Stankiewicz.

The program will furthermore Days of multimedia installations, film review, lectures, meetings, workshops and conferences with artists of two elite global organizations: the ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) and IAMIC (International Association of Music Information Centres).

[Sources: polmic.pl, iscm.org, worldmusicdays2014.pl]

Blechacz In Texas

Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz will make his Houston, TX debut with a piano recital on Friday, October 17 at 8:00 p.m. The program for the evening will include J.S. Bach’s Italian concerto, BWV 971; Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata in c minor, Op. 13 Pathetique; and three works by Frédéric Chopin: Nocturne No. 2 in E Major, Op. 62; 3 Waltzes, Op. 64; 3 Mazurkas, Op. 56 and Polonaise in F-sharp minor, Op. 44.

Rafał Blechacz’s career was launched in October 2005 after winning the 15th Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland. In January 2014 he was the recipient of the Gilmore Artist Award, which is given every four years to an international pianist of any age and nationality following a rigorous and confidential selection process.

Born in Nakło nad Notecią, a city in northern Poland, Rafał Blechacz began studying piano at the age of five. His professional studies began at the Artur Rubinstein State School of Music followed by the Feliks Nowoiejski Academy of Music with pianist Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń. While still in school he began competing in prestigious competitions including the 13th All-Poland Johann Sebastian Bach Competition (first prize), the 5th International Young Pianists Competition (second prize) and the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in Japan (co-winner).

Since the launch of his career, the 29-year-old Blechacz has signed a contract to work exclusively with the Deutsche Grammophon record label with which he has released five albums, including his most recent Chopin Polonaises. His work in concert halls includes performances in Europe, Asia and America with some of the greatest symphonies and conductors including Paavo Järvi and Charles Dutoit.

The event is presented by the Society for the Performing Arts. Founded in 1966, Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) is the largest independent non-profit presenting organization in the Southwest. Since its inception, SPA has sponsored more than 1,000 performances of the world’s finest music, dance and theater events, in adherence to the belief that the arts are fundamental to the overall enrichment and quality of life within the community. In addition to presenting artists, SPA seeks to provide a variety of learning experiences for adults and children through master classes, lectures and special student performances, as well as build relationships between the performing arts and other interests within the greater Houston area and throughout the state of Texas.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.spahouston.org, by phone at 713-227-4SPA or at the courtyard level ticket office at Jones Hall located at 615 Louisiana St. Hours of operation: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday. For groups of 15 or more call 713-632-8113.

Friday, October 17th, 2014 8:00PM
Rafał Blechacz Piano Recital
Wortham Center Cullen Theater
500 Texas Avenue, Houston, TX 77002
Venue info: www.houston-theater.com
Additional info: www.broadwayworld.com
Tickets: www.spahouston.org or 713-227-4SPA

[Source: press release]

Musica Vincit Omnia

On October 25-27, the Andrzej Markowski Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP), ZAiKS Authors’ Association, and Polish Radio Channel 2 present Triptych MUSICA VINCIT OMNIA:

Generations XVIII “Polish-American” series of concerts and conference. The series is organized in honor of the 90th anniversary of Andrzej Markowski’s birth and the 70th anniversary of the Polish Composers’ Union.

According to Andrzej Markowski Foundation President Małgorzata Markowska:

Thanks to our outstanding Artists, we will have a unique opportunity to share our deepest devotion to the eternal values of the most noble art of music in the context of Polish-American friendship. Musica Vincit Omnia, indeed, when the wisdom of one thousand years of Polish history meets American energy in the common spirit of the love of freedom.

Held in the Polish Radio’s Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio, the two concerts will feature outstanding guest atrists performing works by composers either in or from Poland and America. On Saturday Oct. 25, the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra with its Artistic Director and conductor Marek Moś and cello soloist Steven Honigberg will perform the following program: Tadeusz Baird – Colas Breugnon, Kazimierz Serocki – Sinfonietta, Tomasz Sikorski – Holzwege, Andrzej Panufnik –Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Bolesław Szabelski – Toccata and Leonard Bernstein – Candide Overture. On Monday Oct. 27 at 7 p.m., the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Slowik, Artistic Director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, and soloist flute Jadwiga Kotnowska will perform the following program: Grażyna Bacewicz – Overture, Charles Ives – The Unanswered Question, Lowell Liebermann – Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky – Dumbarton Oaks and Aaron Copland – Appalachian Spring.

On Sunday, October 26 in Warsaw’s Royal Castle, a conference-lecture will be delivered by the Artistic Director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Kenneth Slowik, followed by the screening of a documentary on the ballet Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland, as choreographed by Martha Graham.

October 25, 2014 | 7:00 p.m.
Generations XVIII “Polish-American”: AUKSO Concert
Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio – Polish Radio
ul. Modzelewskiego 59,
Mokotów, Warsaw 00-977
Ttickets: 15 PLN @ sklep.polskieradio.pl, ebilet.pl or box office
Standing room: 5 PLN at the box office

October 26, 2014 | 3:30 p.m.
Generations XVIII “Polish-American”: Conference-lecture
Warsaw University Library
Dobra 56/66, Warsaw 00-312
Admission: free

October 27, 2014 | 7:00 p.m.
Generations XVIII “Polish-American”: Sinfonia Iuventus Concert
Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio – Polish Radio
ul. Modzelewskiego 59,
Mokotów, Warsaw 00-977
Ttickets: 15 PLN @ sklep.polskieradio.pl, ebilet.pl or box office
Standing room: 5 PLN @ box office

[Source: press release]

Polish Jazz in CA & OR

The Andrzej Jagodziński Trio featuring Chicago-based singer Grażyna Auguścik will give a West Coast tour during October, bringing their unique flavor of Polish jazz to San Diego, Los Angeles, Irvine and Portland. Masters of the jazz genre in their own right, when these incredible musicians join forces, the audience is in for incredible show.

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 8:00 pm
Andrzej Jagodziński Trio & Grażyna Auguścik in San Diego
Smith Recital Hall, San Diego University
5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182
Tickets: $15 General public / $10 Students
Tickets will be available at Smith Box Office one hour prior to the concert
Free parking at the parking structure (PS) 4.

Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 8:30 pm
Andrzej Jagodziński Trio & Grażyna Auguścik in L.A.
Catalina Bar & Grill
6725 West Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA, 90028
Tickets: $20
Dinner or two drinks minimum required in addition to the tickets. Doors open for dinner 1 ½ hour before the show. Tickets available at www.ticketweb.com (ticket sales are final)
Info: www.catalinajazzclub.com

Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 8:00 pm
Andrzej Jagodziński Trio & Grażyna Auguścik in Irvine
Winifred Smith Hall, Claire Trevor School of the Arts
Department of Music, UC, Irvine, CA
1200 S Main Street Templeton, CA 93465
Admission is free and open to the public; seating on a first-come, first-served basis
Parking in the UC Irvine Mesa Parking Structure is $10-$15 per vehicle
Directions: www.arts.uci.edu

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 7:00 pm
Polish Library Association
3832 N Interstate Ave., Portland, OR, 97227
Tickets: $ 20.00, 15.00 at ajtrio.bpt.me
Info: portlandpolonia.org

Singer, composer, arranger, and producer Grażyna Auguścik has won the praise and admiration of music critics, jazz enthusiasts and even non-jazz audiences with a singular voice that speaks a universal language. In her repertoire she utilizes Polish folk music, Latin American music and Klezmer music. She first studied guitar in her hometown Słupsk, Poland. Later she graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1992. Her singing debut took place in 1977 at a festival in Toruń. At the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole in 1979 she won in the category of first-time contestants. In 1988, Grażyna Auguścik moved to the United States, where she has performed with Michał Urbaniak and Urszula Dudziak, and many other leading jazz musicians, including Jim Hall, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, John Medeski, Patricia Barber, Paul Wertico, Bobby Enriquez, and others. Auguścik lives and frequently performs in Chicago since 1994. She has participated in the programs of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, bringing “traditional Eastern European music into the jazz idiom, providing a new link to the universality of the language of jazz”. In 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006, she was declared Best Jazz Vocal by the European Jazz Forum Magazine. Auguścik has toured all over the world. Some of her albums have been highly acclaimed and popular with jazz audiences, and have consistently placed in Top 10 Charts. Grażyna has recorded 15 albums, including two with Urszula Dudziak, her fellow top-ranking Polish female jazz vocalist. She is one of the most intriguing contemporary vocalists on today’s world jazz scene.

The Andrzej Jagodziński Trio was formed by Andrzej Jagodziński (a pianist) in 1993, with drummer Czesław Bartkowski and double-bass player Adam Cegielski in the line-up. It is a jazz group with a well-deserved global reputation, which celebrates in 2014 twenty years of their musical career. The trio’s album “Chopin” was released in 1994, containing jazz arrangement of works by Fryderyk Chopin. The album contributes to the band’s great success, winning awards that included the Fryderyk ’94 Polish Music Industry Prize and the Melomani ’94 award from the Association of Jazz Fans in Łódź.

Andrzej Jagodziński born in 1953 is one of the best pianists in Poland as well as a composer and arranger. He received his degrees from the Frederick Chopin Conservatory where he studied French Horn while already employed by the Polish Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra. In 1979 Jagodziński participated in the Old Jazz Meeting Zlota Tarka and received first prize for “pianist of the year”. He has played with best jazz groups in Poland including The Old Timers, Swing Session, String Connection, The Zbigniew Namyslowski Quartet, The Janusz Muniak Quartet, The Big Warsaw Band, Quintessence, The Tomasz Szukalski Quartet, The Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski Quartet and Jarek Smietana’s Polish All Star. Jagodziński has toured in most European countries, Australia, The United States, India, Kuwait, Cuba and the former Soviet Union and has been representing Polish jazz for the past 16 years at Jazz Yatra-Bombay, Ost-West Nurnberg, Jazz in Europe-Paris, Skane Festivalen in Malmo, Edinburgh Art Festival, Ankara Music Festival, Leverkusener Jazz Tage, Istanbul International Festival and in all the major Polish jazz festivals.

Among the awards he received are: 1979 – Złota Tarka, 1994 -Fryderyk for the CD „Chopin”, category „Jazz CD of the year”, 1995 – Mateusz – Polish Radio Program III Award, 1995 – Melomani – Melomani Society Award a an Artist of the year, 2001 – Fryderyk award – „Jazz musician of the year”, 2005 – Gloria Artis – award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, 2012 – Award of the City Warsaw. More than 50 CD can be found in his discography.

Adam Cegielski is bass player, a graduate of the Frederick Chopin Conservatory in Warsaw. With Central Heating Trio he has won prizes in The Europe Jazz Competition in Belgium and The European Jazz Competition in Leverkusen – Germany. For many years Cegielski devoted his time to jazz and classical music and played with the top-ranked Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, with whom he recorded several CDs. He recorded the soundtracks of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s movies “White” and “Red”, and film music with jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stanko – “A Farewell to Maria” (GOWI Records). In 1994 he received annual “Krzysztof Komeda Award” by the Polish Culture Foundation for his significant musical talent. He has been playing with the Andrzej Jagodziński Trio since 1993. Starting 1994 Cegielski has been also teaching double-bass at the Faculty of Jazz of the Chopin High School of Music in Warsaw, and since 2005 he serves as a director of this Jazz Faculty.

Czesław Bartkowski a jazz drummer since 1960 has earned his title asone of the most important personalities of the Polish Jazz stage. He started learning music at age of six. He made his debut as a jazz drummer in 1960 with Jerzy Pakulski “Far Quartet” and ever since he has been performing with outstanding Polish and foreign musicians. Czesław Bartkowski has been a member of many exclusive jazz formations, i.e.: Zbigniew Namysłowski Quartet, Krzysztof Komeda Quintet, Vocal Group Novi Singers, Niemen Enigmatic by Czesław Niemen, Michał Urbaniak Group, Tomasz Stańko, Adam Makowicz Unit Trio, Karolak-Szukalski-Bartkowski Trio and many others. He has been playing and recording with outstanding Polish jazz vocalists, ie.: Ewa Bem, Grażyna Auguścik, Urszula Dudziak, Stanisław Sojka as well as foreign musicians, i.e. Art Farmer, Aladar Pege, Ben Webster, Clark Terry, Joe Newman, Freddie Hubbard. Heperformed at many worldwide jazz festivals (in USA, Israel, Ethiopia, New Zealand,Australia,Japan, India and all over the Europe i.e.: Montreux, The North Sea, Berliner Jazz Tage, Molde, Comablain-La-Tour, Warsaw Jazz Jamboree). He is an Honorary Member of the Tauranga Jazz festival Society and The New Orleans Clubs New Castle on Tyne England. Czesław Bartkowski received many awards such as: I Prize at the National Cultural Students Festival in Gdańsk in 1961, III Prize at the International Competition for Modern Jazz organized by Friedrich Gulda in Vienna in1966, Golden Helicon Award, Decoration of Merit for Polish Culture (1981), Individual Prize for Worthy Contribution to Artistic Education Development awarded by the Artistic Education Center.

[Source: press release]

Polish Jazz In Michigan

On October 21, the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) presents Polish jazz vocalist Grażyna Auguscik with Chicago-based bassist and composer Matt Ulery for an evening of music at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Auguscik and Ulery present a double bill tour promoting two new albums:  Ulery’s new release of original music on Greenleaf Music, “In the Ivory,” and Grazyna’s new album, “Man Behind the Sun (songs of Nick Drake)”.  The evening’s performers will also include Ulery’s core trio (Robert Clearfield, piano and Jon Deitemyer, drums) plus violinist Zach Brock. This is eighty minutes of resplendent, lyrical, transportive, and impeccably performed chamber-jazz music. Inspired and motivated by the musical and personal relationships developed while recording and performing By a Little Light—Ulery’s most ambitious project to date—In the Ivory explores the idea of consciousness through patient, lyrical composition.

This concert is a part of the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies’ year-long feature in Polish Jazz, both in course work and event programming. We intend to teach a short course, and host a series of performances, not all of which are announced yet.

October 21, 2014 | 8:00 PM
Polish jazz vocalist Grazyna Auguscik & bassist/composer Matt Ulery perform
Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. 4th Ave., Ann Arbor MI
Info: kerrytownconcerthouse.com

Sponsored by the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies and the Center for World Performance Studies. CREES is the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Michigan’s International Institute. CREES is a U.S. Department of Education-supported National Resource Center that awards Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships. CREES is home to the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies, and works alongside the Center for European Studies and Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies in association with the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia.

Other upcoming concerts in the series

November 12, 2014 | 8 pm
Wacław Zimpel Quartet concert
Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. 4th Ave., Ann Arbor MI
Info: kerrytownconcerthouse.com

February 4, 2015 | 5:30 pm
Annual Copernicus Lecture with Tomasz Stańko & Piotr Michałowski
Stern Auditorium, U-M Museum of Art, 525 S. State St., Ann Arbor MI
Info: www.ii.umich.edu/crees

February 5, 2015 | 7:30 pm
Tomasz Stańko New Balladyna Quartet performs Balladyna
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, 911 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor MI
Info: ums.org/performance/tomasz-stanko

Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stańko is “one of the most original and creative jazz trumpet players in the world,” proclaimed the New Yorker. Inspired by early Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane, he was 20 when he formed his first band in 1962 and has been a jazz hero in Europe ever since. The Tomasz Stańko New Balladyna Quartet will present Balladyna, based on the Polish tragedy written by Juliusz Słowacki in 1834 and published in 1839 in Paris. The quartet includes Tomasz Stańko, trumpet; Tim Berne, saxophones; John Hébert, bass; and Jim Black, drums.

[Source: Kopernikana press release]

Lutosławski By Meyer & Gwizdalanka

Lutosławski’s latest biography, jointly written by Danuta Gwizdalanka and Krzysztof Meyer, was recently published in German translation by Christina Marie Hauptmeier. Entitled Wege zur Meisterschaft [The Road to Excellence], this 415-page volume has been updated with the latest research and scholarship resulting from the Lutosławski centenary celebrations in 2013.

Krzysztof Meyer, a prominent Polish composer and a close friend of Lutosławski, sketches a compelling and insightful portrait of this iconic twentieth century composer. Meyer’s wife, Danuta Gwizdalanka, a noted musicologist and writer, provides to the reader with insights and analysis of Lutosławski’s creative development as a composer.

Published by Pfau Verlag and illustrated with a number of rare photographs, this biography will certainly contribute to better understanding of Lutosławski’s role in the musical life of Poland, especially his influence on contemporary music, and the political reality in post-war Poland until the country returned to democratic governance in 1989.

[Sources: press release, pfau-verlag.de]

Polish Organist At Washington Nat’l Cathedral

Polish organist Piotr Rachoń from Warsaw’s St John Cathedral will present a recital at Washington National Cathedral on Sunday, October 5. Guest organist Rachoń will play a recital on the Cathedral’s 10,650–pipe great organ. His program will include works by Polish composers such as Jan z Lublina (ca. 1530), Jakub Sowa (1545–1593), and Mieczysław Surzyński (1866–1924), as well as Italian and French composers.

Piotr Rachoń is a graduate of the Frederic Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw where he earned two master degrees in music (cum laude), one from the academy’s Piano, Harpsichord, and Organ Department in 1994, and the other from the school’s Church Music Division in 2004. Thanks to a grant from the Italian Government and the Polish Ministry of Culture and Art, he underwent training at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna in 1994, and in Academie d’Orgue in Saint-Maximin la Sainte-Baume–France in 2009. He is also a 1999 alumnus of the Papal Theological Department’s Institute of Professional Organ Training in Warsaw.

Rachoń leads an active concert life performing as soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist both in Poland and abroad (Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and USA). Among his artistic achievements are CD recordings made in Poland and Germany. Since 2002, Rachoń has been an organist at the Warsaw Archdiocesan Cathedral-Basilica of St. John the Baptist, and since 2006, he has been the cathedral’s principal organist. Currently, he is a lecturer at the Cardinal Wyszyński University. He has also been a member of the Archdiocese of Warsaw’s Church Music Commission since 2004. He is also coorganizer of masterclasses of Italian music on historical, Italian instruments for Polish students (Perinaldo, Val Gerola, Gottro di Carlazzo).

In 2008–2009, Piotr Rachoń, a grantee of the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York and University of Houston, was a doctoral student and teaching assistant in the Organ Department at the University of Houston.

Sunday, October 5, 2014 | 5:15 PM
Polish Organ Music with Piotr Rachoń at Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin and Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20016
$10 suggested donation
Info: www.nationalcathedral.org

[Source: press release]


2014 Koryfeusz Polish Music Award Winners

On September 16, the committee of the 2014 Koryfeusz Polish Music Award announced the nominees in advance of the September 30 award ceremony. This year’s edition of this prestigious award was given under the theme of “Kolberg. (Re)interpretations.”

The nominees in the Music Personality of the Year Award category included saxophonist Paweł Gusnar, Artistic Director of Warsaw Philharmonic Maestro Jacek Kasprzyk, violinist and composer Ewelina Nowicka, jazz pianist and composer Włodek Pawlik, and composer and performer Agata Zubel. The Music Event of the Year Award nominees included the First International Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition, the Rzeczpospolita Kolberga—Wszystkie Mazurki Świata [The Republic of Kolberg—All of the World’s Mazurkas] Festival, the 56th Warszawska Jesień Festival concert featuring Krystian Zimerman, the world premiere performance of Eugeniusz Knapik’s opera, Moby Dick, and the premiere of Mieczysław Wajnberg’s opera, Portret [Portrait].

During the September 30 gala at the Lutosławski Concert Studio in Warsaw, the following winners of the 2014 Koryfeusz Polish Music Award were announced:

  • Music Personality of the Year Award: Włodek Pawlik
  • Music Event of the Year: 2013 Warsaw Autumn Festival concert with Krystian Zimerman, organized by the Polish Composers’ Union and Institute of Music and Dance
  • Honorary Award: Prof. Mieczysław Tomaszewski

 [Sources: imit.org.pl, koryfeusz.org.pl, facebook.com]

Paderewski Wins Around The World

Using rare documentary footage and materials from a number of libraries around the world, Wiesław Dąbrowski’s Paderewski: The Man of Action, Success and Famepresents the history of the great Polish patriot, world-famous pianist and composer, statesman, diplomat, politician and philanthropist who was one of the transformative figures in the modern era. This documentarycontinues to garner accolades around the world. On September 9, it received the Silver Sword Award in the documentary films category at the Fifth International Festival of Historical and Military Films in Warsaw.

This film also competed at the Florida Documentary Film Festival in Miami, held Sept 11-13, and won in the Best Historical Documentary category. The Award Ceremony was held on September 13. Bravo!

[Source: press release]


III Neoarte Festival

‘Neoarte’ New Music Spectrum is a festival presenting the most interesting trends in contemporary music by combining artists from different cultures and arts. Intriguing and unusual events offer a chance to experience music that stimulates new areas of our senses and enriches our perspective on the world. This year’s Festival—held from October 3-5, 2014 in Gdańsk—explores the connections between Poland, the Ukraine and the US.

A gala concert introducing the Festival was held at Warsaw’s Royal Castle on September 26 during the 56th International ‘Warsaw Autumn’ Festival. The concert included four world premieres of works written this year, including Bio-chorales for wind quintet by Karol Nepelski (Pol), I Have Lost My Euridice for string quartet, double bass, woodwind quartet, French horn and piano by Oleksii Shmuraka (Ukr), Talos for string quartet by Bohdan Sehin (Ukr), and Koncert na jedenastu [Concerto for 11] for string quartet, double bass, woodwind quartet, French horn and piano by Sławomir Kupczak (Pol). They were performed by NeoQuartet and Ensemble Nostri Temporis, with double bassist Jarosław Stokowski and conductor Grzegorz Wierus. This concert was accompanied by a cycle of lectures on the topic, “Poland—Ukraine—Europe: the Heritage and the Future,” jointly sponsored by His Excellency the Ambassador of the Ukraine in Poland, Markijan Malski, and His Excellency the Ambassador of Poland to the Ukraine, Henryk Litwin.

Neoarte is three days of concerts and workshops, during which will be held five world premieres of works the greatest composers of the younger generation of Poland, the Ukraine and the USA; the premiere performance of a project inspired by minimal music—Kuba Kapsa Ensemble; the first presentation of the new audio-visual project by Piotr Gotkowski and Rafał Pelc—“77525;” the Contemporary Classic Jam Session; workshops for composers; and activities for children. The patron of the festival is eminent Polish composer and specialist in electronic music Cezary Duchnowski, who along with world-class singer and composer Agata Zubel, will present the final concert as duo Elettro Voce.

The festival is organized by NeoQuartet and the NeoArte Association.

[Sources: polmic.pl, neoarte.pl]

XV ‘Musical Confrontations’ Festival At Stawisko

The Anna and Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz Museum in Stawisko (pictured above) is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year, and its annual ‘Musical Confrontations’ Festival marks its fifteenth year as well. In celebration, a series of concerts, lectures and discussion forums is scheduled throughout the month of October, illustrating the importance of this charming manor house within the cultural landscape of Poland.

The chamber music concert series began on September 28 with a program of works by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms, performed by pianist Beata Bilińska, oboist Marek Mleczko, clarinetist Roman Widaszek, bassoonist Paweł Solecki and French horn player Leszek Salwa. The Włodek Pawlik Trio will present a jazz concert, featuring songs composed to Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz’s poems on October 5. On October 10-11 in the manor house, the Art history Department of Warsaw University will hold an international conference discussing timely issues in art and art history. A day later, the Opium String Quartet (at right) will present works by Mozart, Szymanowski, and Kilar.

On October 19, Violinist Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, cellist Tomasz Strahl and pianist Bartłomiej Kominek will present a chamber music concert and, on the 26th, vocalist Aga Zaryan and pianist Michał Tokaj appear in a program of music and poetry to texts by Czesław Miłosz and Kamil Baczyński.

Exhibits of photographs from the Iwaszkiewicz archives and other lectures are planned throughout October. A detailed schedule of events can be found at: www.stawisko.pl

[Sources: polmic.pl, stawisko.pl]

‘Musical Spaces’ In Wielkopolska

The sounds of the fourth International “Musical Spaces” [Muzyczne Przestrzenie] Chamber Music Festival resonated in several churches, castles and palaces throughout the Wielkopolska region from September 12-28, 2014. In addition to the Festival’s tribute to Sir Andrzej Panufnik on his centenary, works by Johannes Brahms and Max Bruch as well as those by Józef Nowakowski and Tomasz Opałka were also presented in the series of concert.

The Festival’s focus this year is on the town of Konin and its outreach to the local population took place under a catchphrase “Great noise in a small town.” On September 14 all of town’s residents were invited to gather at the Freedom Square in the center of town, where they were provided with musical instruments of their choice and allowed to experiment for a few hours. At the same time, a series of art workshops for children was organized under a banner of “Artistic Euphoria” and led by the local art studio, Garaż Sztuk [The Art Garage]. A puppet theatre production was also provided for the youngest participants.

Folk music was also a significant part of this year’s Festival, with presentations honoring Karol Szymanowski and his works that utilized the folk traditions of the Kurpie Region. Szymanowski’s Kurpie Songs were performed by classically-trained musicians as well as by the local folk singers. Several songs from Oskar Kolberg’s priceless anthology were also heard in performance.

A screening of Maja Baczyńska’s documentary, Kilka pytań o słyszenie świata [A few questions about hearing the world] that presents the youngest generation of Polish composers was also planned during the Festival, whose artistic director, the violin virtuoso, Janusz Wawrowski, was joined in concerts by English cellist Jacob Shaw and a number of other artists. The President of the town of Konin, Józef Nowicki, served as the honorary patron of the Festival that was co-financed by the Office of the Marshall of the Wielkopolska Region together with the Konin Town Council.

[Sources: polmic.pl, muzyczneprzestrzenie.pl]

II Accordian Festival In Kraków

The Second Accordion Festival was held September 25-29 in Kraków, featuring artists from Poland, the Ukraine, Slovakia and Norway. Besides a number of concerts, a variety of master classes and exhibits for young accordion players were held. The Festival also featured a competition for a brief video ad promoting accordion music as well as a competition for a documentary short film on art.

This unusual Festival celebrates the accordion, an instrument that permeates all styles and genres of music, from classical and jazz to funk, folk and retro. The Festival venues included the Żeleński Secondary Music School, Alchemia Club, and Wrzos Cinema in Kraków, as well as various Protestant, Catholic and Greek Catholic churches in the old Polish capital. Some of the Festival concerts were also held in the historic City Hall in a charming town of Nowy Sącz, south of Kraków.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Music At Polish Film Festival In L.A.

The 15th Annual Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles kicks off with its exciting invitation-only Gala Opening on October 7. This “Holiday of Polish Cinema” will continue celebrating the greatest achievements of Polish filmmakers through October 16, 2014, with screenings in North Hollywood, West L.A. and Northridge.

Below are the music-related films that will be available for viewing during the Festival. For the full schedule and details about all of the excellent films to be screened this year, visit www.polishfilmla.org.

Saturday, October 11, 2014 | 5:00  p.m.
[Paderewski, czlowiek czynu, sukcesu i slawy] by Wieslaw Dabrowski (32 min.)
Laemmle’s Royal Theatre
11523 Santa Monica  Blvd., West Los Angeles, CA 90025 (310-478-3836)

Sunday, October 12, 2014 | 3:00 p.m. 
[Przyjaciele na 33 obroty] by Grzegorz Brzozowicz (57 min.)
Laemmle’s NoHo7 Theatre
5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601 (310-478-3836)

[Sources: press release, polishfilmla.org]


Celebrating 65th Birthday Of Kaja Danczkowska

Kaja Danczowska – Skrzypce / Violin
Works by Mozart, Wieniawski, Bacewicz, Karłowicz, Brahms, Panufnik and many others
Kaja Danczowska – violin, with orchestras: NOSPR, Warsaw National Philharmonic, National Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Polish Radio and TV Symphony Orchestras of Krakow and Poznań (“Amadeus”), and conductors: Karol Teutsch, Tadeusz Strugała, Antoni Wit, Kazimierz Kord, Agnieszka Duczmal, and Jerzy Salwarowski

Polskie Radio PRCD 1721-1727 (7 CD set)

A seven-CD box set with recordings by the prolific Polish violinist Prof. Kaja Danczowska (b. 1949) was released by Polish Radio in July. It is the most extensive collection of the artist’s recordings to date. The recordings come from Polish and German archives dating from 1974-2007. The publishers had great difficulty in obtaining some of these to present them on the album. In the highly interesting CD booklet, the artist comments on each of the recordings.

This publication is a special gift for Professor Danczowska on the occasion of her jubilee, but also for all the admirers of her talent. The box set was released thanks to the efforts of Polish Radio 2 and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage

[Sources: beethoven.org.pl, sklep.polskieradio.pl, chopin.nifc.pl]

New Alina Mleczko CD

Sonatina Für Alina
Paweł Mykietyn – Sonatina für Alina; Edward Sielicki – Diferentia specifica (una fantasia quasi tango); Jerzy DerfelSonata for alto saxophone and strings; Paweł Mykietyn – Anioły w Ameryce [Angels in America]; Jacek GrudzieńConcerto per Sassofono Soprano e Archi

Alina Mleczko – saxophone; Baltic Neopolis Orchestra
DUX Records

In mid-December, saxophonist Alina Mleczko and the Baltic Neopolis Orchestra recorded a CD of works by living composers, including: Edward Sielicki, Krzysztof Herdzin, Jerzy Derfel, Pawł Mykietyn and Jacek Grudzień. Sonatina für Alina’ is an engaging project, consisting solely of Polish works written for saxophone and string instruments. This is the first Polish album promoting both saxophone and composers interested in this instrument.

The CD was released in September 2014 on DUX Records, with a concert on September 27 at the TRAFO Trafostacja Sztuki in Szczecin.

Developed by Mleczko, the program of the CD and the concert presents the wide and unique range of sounds used in works that were composed for saxophone and string orchestra during the last 15 years. For the most part, the pieces on the program were composed for or dedicated to a specific soloist.

The material was recorded in Cedynia , the 750 -year-old Cistercian monastery. Watch a video of the recording at www.youtube.com.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Kisielewski Recorded By Lisak

KISIELEWSKI, S.: Piano Pieces
Magdalena Lisak, piano
CDAccord ACD210

Stefan Kisielewski was a man of many talents. His adventure with music began during his childhood with piano lessons. “The black box”, as he fondly called his favorite instrument, would accompany him throughout his life, until the very last bars of his Piano Concerto written just a few months before his death. The compositions selected for this CD by the outstanding pianist Magdalena Lisak, arranged chronologically, illustrate the development and changes in the style of a composer who never aimed to discover new worlds in music, but still left a lasting musical legacy worthy of his own extraordinary personality. His music betrays the same spirit of contrariness that inspired his numerous feature articles, papers and novels.

[Source: Naxos press release]

New Penderecki Audio/Video Recordings

A Tribute to Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki: Threnody To the Victims of Hiroshima; Duo concertante; Concerto Grosso No. 1 for 3 Cellos; Credo (Recorded live at the Polish National Opera, Warsaw, 23 November 2013)

Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin; Daniel Müller-Schott, cello; Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev and Krzysztof Urbanski, conductors; and more
Accentus Music ACC-20276 [DVD]

Krzysztof Penderecki is one of the world’s great contemporary composers and a Polish classical music icon. His 80th birthday celebration on November 23, 2013 occasioned an extraordinary gathering of the world’s most significant musicians and his most important interpreters, and much of the footage of this DVD was recorded live that day at the Polish National Opera in Warsaw. Companions and long-time friends of the composer presented their homage to Penderecki with some of his most famous works being performed: Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, the Duo Concertante, the Concerto Grosso No. 1 and the unique Credo. In bonus footage, Krzysztof Penderecki himself talks about the concert.

PENDERECKI: Choral Works Vol. 2
Krzysztof Penderecki : Missa brevis; Psalms of David; Iz glubiny wozzwach k tiebie (Gospodi Psalm 129); Utrenja II – Ashche i wo grob z jutrzni II; O gloriosa virginum; Kaddish

Polish Chamber Choir; Jan Łukaszewski, cond.
DUX Records (amazon.com)

Reviewer Alexandra Coghlan writes the following for Gramophone Magazine:

By his own admission, the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki has ‘spent decades searching for and discovering new sounds’. Nowhere are the breadth and variety of these discoveries more evident than on the latest disc in Dux’s Penderecki Special Edition series – a second volume of choral works performed by the Polish Chamber Choir. The repertoire here stretches from the composer’s earliest choral work, the Psalms of David (1958), to his Missa brevis (completed in 2012) – from ferocious, percussion-driven violence to unaccompanied neo-classical sweetness, via the chant-inspired formality of Utrenja. The guiding thread through music constantly evolving and reimagining itself is Catholicism and its liturgy.

Penderecki’s choral music might be less familiar than his large-scale orchestral works but it’s a microcosm of this composer’s extraordinary breadth. This disc is an essential addition to a slim recording catalogue, and if I wish that the singers had found the muscular flexibility of the Netherlands Chamber Choir’s 2004 album of Penderecki (Globe), then that’s just a small quibble.

[Sources: Naxos press release, gramophone.co.uk]

New Sonorities Explored On ‘Chopin Variations’

Chad Lawson: Chopin Variations
Chopin: Nocturne in F Minor, Op. 55, No. 1; Prelude in B Minor, Op. 28, No. 6; Waltz in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2; Mazurka in G Minor, Op. 67, No. 2; Prelude in C Minor, Op. 28, No. 20; Nocturne in E-Flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2; Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28, No. 4; Nocturne in E Minor, Op. 72, No. 1; Waltz in A Minor, Op. 34, No. 2; Prelude in D-Flat Major, Op. 28, No. 15
pianist Chad Lawson; violinist Judy Kang; cellist Rubin Kodheli
Hillset Records (Amazon / iTunes)

Released on September 23, Chad  Lawson’s  new album ‘Chopin Variations’ almost immediately hit the #1 iTunes Classical Album Debut. Lawson felt Chopin needed a new introduction—along with violinist, Judy Kang and cellist Rubin Kodheli, the trio has arranged 10 Chopin works into a minimalist format even the “poet of the piano” would appreciate.

This is a double disc release: disc one contains the pieces as arranged for piano, violin and cello, while disc two is performed as the original solo piano repertoire.

According to NPR:

A pianist with a strong background in jazz, Lawson presents 10 Chopin works on his aptly named new album, The Chopin Variations. It’s not just the way he arranges the music that makes these recordings different. There’s an intimate, otherworldly feeling that comes from the way they were recorded, a tactic Lawson first tried on his 2013 album The Space Between.

“I record, usually, late at night; we have two small children under the age of 5, so no one wants to hear music at 2 a.m.,” he says. “I had felt placed between the strings and hammers because it really mutes the sound, and it created this really warm, resonating tone. … You’re able to strike the note without it having a really harsh attack. But with doing that, though, the microphone setting is placed really close to the hammers inside the piano, and so you hear all the creaks and the cracks of the piano itself. You’re hearing it as a machine, almost.”

[Sources: npr.org, chadlawson.com]


Born This Month

  • 3 October 1882 – Karol SZYMANOWSKI, composer, pianist, (d. 29 March 1937)
  • 3 October 1923 – Stanislaw SKROWACZEWSKI, composer and conductor
  • 4 October 1910 – Eugenia UMINSKA, violinist
  • 6 October 1885 – Karol STROMENGER, teacher, composer, publicist, music critic (d. 1975)
  • 9 October 1924 – Regina SMENDZIANKA, pianist
  • 10 October 1910 – Henryk SWOLKIEN, music critic, composer
  • 14 October 1910 – Lech MIKLASZEWSKI, children’s song writer, author of popular radio music shows for children, music publicist (d. 1992)
  • 16 October 1867 – Ferdynand HOESICK, music critic, publisher (d. 13 April 1941)
  • 18 October 1879 – Grzegorz FITELBERG, conductor, violinist, composer (d. 10 June 1953)
  • 20 October 1819 – Karol MIKULI, pianist, composer, conductor, Chopin’s student (d. 21 May 1897)
  • 20 October 1935 – Henryk SWOLKIEN, composer, publicist, music promoter (d. 1990)
  • 25 October 1868 – Michal SWIERZYNSKI, composer, conductor (d. 30 June 1957)
  • 30 October 1904 – Alfred GRADSTEIN, composer, activist (d. 29 September 1954)


Died This Month

  • 1 October 1990 – Andrzej KRZANOWSKI, composer, accordion player (b. 1951)
  • 1 October 1861 – Tekla Justyna KRZYZANOWSKA, pianist, Chopin’s mother (b. September 1780)
  • 7 October 1854 – Adolf CICHOWSKI, Chopin’s friend, officer and civil servant (b.1794)
  • 17 October 1849 – Fryderyk CHOPIN, composer and pianist (b. 1 March (also listed as February 22) 1810)
  • 17 October 1938 – Aleksander MICHALOWSKI, pianist, composer, Tausig’s student (b. 5 May 1851)
  • 18 October 1962 – Maria SZCZEPANSKA, musicologist (b. 13 May 1902)
  • 21 October 1837 – Michal Józef GUZIKOW, folk musician (b. 1806)
  • 27 October 1991 – Andrzej PANUFNIK, composer and conductor (b. 24 September 1914)
  • 30 October 1912 – Jan Karol GALL, composer and conductor (b. 18 August 1856)
  • 31 October 1952 – Adolf CHYBINSKI, musicologist (b. 29 April 1880)